Courtenay race car driver Nicole Havrda, 17, has finished her winter series as the hottest driver on the Formula Pro USA circuit.
She opened her winter season with a pole position and second-place finish at a series event Feb. 25-26 at the Sonoma Raceway in California.
Havrda kicked things off at Sonoma with a second-place in Saturday’s (Feb. 25) qualifying session, in wet conditions and near-freezing temperatures. The damp track proved a problem for the front row, as both cars dropped positions at the start. Havrda fell from second to fourth, but was back up to second by the fourth lap, in pursuit of the leader.
“I was in tight pursuit, but was held up in traffic and lost time,” she said by email.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race was a battle for pole between Havrda and another driver.
“Both of us kept chipping away at our times. Near the end of qualifying, I set a time that proved to be unbeatable and I had pole position.”
The weekend’s final race brought more rain as drivers lined up on the grid, again in cold, wet conditions.
Havrda was unable to capitalize on her excellent pole position.
“On lap two, I was caught out by the wet conditions, spinning into retirement. Nevertheless, a pole and second place were an excellent way to start the season.”
Last weekend (March 4-5), she outdid herself, taking the pole and wins in both races at Thunderhill Raceway Park in the Sacramento Valley.
With the short winter season now behind them, Havrda and her team have two weeks to prepare for the kickoff to the 2023 Formula Pro USA season.